More than just another spiced pumpkin beer.
Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale
By Bill Lau | Potable Pastime
Ale brewed with natural pumpkin flavors and spices and aged in oak bourbon barrels. (Contains wheat and pecans.) 10.0% ABV
Alltech’s Lexington Brewing Co., Lexington, KY
Just as I like to add at least one new Oktoberfest beer to the blog every year, I also try to review a pumpkin beer, because I do enjoy trying different ones even while revisiting certain established favorites (Southern Tier Pumking, I’m looking at you!). (Speaking of which, I shall have to pick some up and add that to the blog when I get a chance – I had reviewed it some years ago at the now-defunct MustLoveBeer website before this blog existed; actually, the same holds true of Rogue Farms Pumpkin Patch Ale now that I think of it…well, now, that’s going to be a real hardship, reviewing beers I already know I like, but I guess someone’s gotta do it…)
Anyway, there’s certainly no shortage of pumpkin-based and/or pumpkin spiced beers out there, so it’s not much of a reach finding ones I’ve not tried (or at least reviewed) before. This is one my wife Sue (host of the Palatable Pastime cooking blog) picked out. We’d tried their delightful Peach Barrel Wheat Ale a year or two ago (damn, there’s another one that never made it onto the blog!), and I think it must have left a good impression.
As you can see, this definitely looks the part:
Appearance (4/5): Clear & bright, pumpkiny-orange amber hue. Off-white head holds a thin layer and collar of very finely beaded foam.
Aroma (8/10): Slightly boozy, baked pumpkin & pie spice notes reach out from the glass from a couple feet away. Inviting & appetizing. Upon closer inspection, there’s also a slight buttery diacetyl note as well.
Palate (4.5/5): Moderately full bodied with a smooth, creamy texture and very fine carbonation.
Taste (7.5/10): Tangy, with fruity notes up front, not at all what I expected from the aroma or for a pumpkin beer. The discernible pumpkin flavor is light and sweetish, not earthy or squashy. Has some baked, caramelized and buttery character, more like a scone or muffin than a pie, with very light spices. The oak barrel impact is also restrained and light, not standing out noticeably but rather blending in nicely. A light taste of cinnamon lingers on my tongue, with a touch of nuttiness.
Overall (16/20): Quite unique among all of the pumpkin beers I’ve tried. If you get tired of heavy doses of pumpkin pie spice, then this is the pumpkin beer for you!
You may also be interested in my previous pumpkin beer reviews:
Disclosure: The author has received no reimbursement or compensation for this article. All opinions and remarks are those of the author alone.